Early Los Angeles City Views (1800s)

Historical Photos of Early Los Angeles

 
(ca. 1880s)^ - Panoramic view of L.A. in the 1880s. Shown in the foreground is the Second Street Cable Car, located west of downtown in an area called "Crown Hill." Cable car is stopped in front of W.C. Bowers staple and fancy groceries store. On the left side is a small Real Estate building. In the background several dwellings may be seen scattered over the bare hills.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1880s, located one mile west of downtown Los Angeles, a scrubby hill transformed into an area of prime real estate development. Even before the hill had been named, the Second Street Cable line opened in 1885, carrying passengers from Second and Spring Streets over Bunker Hill, to the terminus at Second and Belmont.

By the late 1880s, mansions and businesses owned by wealthy Angelenos such as the Witmer, Summers, and Lewis families, were dotting the hillside. Among the businesses were hotels, St. Paul’s, the Huntley and the Belmont.^^

 

 
(ca. 1880s)^^ - Exterior view of the car barn for the Second Street Cable Car system in Los Angeles, showing a group of uniformed conductors.  

Historical Notes

The Second Street Cable Railway was the first cable car system to open in Los Angeles. Opened in 1885, it ran from Second and Spring Streets to First Street and Belmont Avenue. The completed railway was 6,940 feet long, just over a mile and a quarter, with a power house constructed in the middle, at Boylston Street. It was a single track system, with sidings where a down-hill car could coast past an up-hill car.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1885)#+ – View looking east on 2nd Street from Olive Street showing two cable cars of the Second Street Cable Railway at center. The First Presbyterian Church with its tall spire can be seen in the distance on the S/E corner of 2nd and Broadway.  

 

Historical Notes

The Second Street Cable line began service with 80 trips per day, operating out of a power station and car house at Second and Boylston Streets. The line featured the steepest cable gradient in North America, a 27.7% slope between Hope Street and Bunker Hill Avenue.*##

 

 

 

 
(1886)+^ - View looking west on 2nd Street at Spring showing a cable car of the Second Street Cable Railway heading toward Bunker Hill. To the right is LA’s 2nd City Hall (1884-1888).  The two-story Hollenbeck Block (expanded to four stories in the second half of 1887) and the spire of the First Presbyterian Church are on the left.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1885)^^ - A cable car of the Second Street Cable Railway passes through the line's deep cut in Bunker Hill. In the background can be seen the lightly populated area which the line's promoters hoped would grow and provide riders.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^*# – View looking west showing a tandem 2nd Street Cable Car heading west through the Bunker Hill cut toward the Belmont Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

In the distance (upper-left) can be seen the Belmont Hotel (built 1884; destroyed by fire in 1887), current site of Belmont HS, and the Ellis College for girls (built in 1886; burnt down 1888). The line of trees at center, coming down the slope, marks the former site of Second Street Park. Mount Lee (current location of the Hollywood Sign) and Mount Hollywood (Griffith Park Observatory is below the peak) are in the upper-right.^*#

 

 

 

 
(1886)*#* - View looking north from the Belmont Hotel. Residential homes can be seen across the rolling hillside.  

 

Historical Notes

The Belmont Hotel on Crown Hill opened in July 1886 at the terminus of the Second Street Cable Railway that was completed a year earlier. The easy access to the line, the graceful architecture, beautiful landscaping, fresh air, and stunning views were attractions for visitors and wealthy Los Angelenos who held a number of social events there. The Belmont’s owner, Rev. John W. Ellis, was also the proprietor and director of another Crown Hill establishment, Ellis Villa College, a finishing school for young ladies.*#^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^^ - Panoramic view of Los Angeles looking northwest on Third Street from Grand Avenue, showing the Belmont Hotel on top of Crown Hill. Houses are spaced widely apart on hilly terrain with mountains in the background. In the distance to the left, the building and spire of the Belmont Hotel is visible. The hotel was built in July 1886. The Hollywood HIlls can be seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hotel Belmont was the first noteworthy building to stand atop Crown Hill, the present site of Belmont High School (1575 West 2nd Street).*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^*# - View looking north from the Belmont Hotel showing several homes and a couple of dirt roads. The Hollywood Hills stand in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1886)^ - Photograph of the exterior view of the Belmont Hotel and its yard, Belmont Avenue & 2nd Street. The three-story hotel featured shingled walls, triangular shaped dormer windows, triangular gables, inclined roof, a balcony, and a square tower.  

 

Historical Notes

The Belmont Hotel on Crown Hill opened in July 1886 at the terminus of the Second Street Cable Railway that was completed a year earlier. The easy access to the line, the graceful architecture, beautiful landscaping, fresh air, and stunning views were attractions for visitors and wealthy Los Angelenos who held a number of social events there. The Belmont’s owner, Rev. John W. Ellis, was also the proprietor and director of another Crown Hill establishment, Ellis Villa College, a finishing school for young ladies.*#*

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^*# - View looking south from the Belmont Hotel located at Belmont and 2nd Street showing miles and miles of mostly undeveloped land as far as the eye can see.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - Photograph of the Belmont Hotel on fire at the corner of Belmont Street and First Street,  December 16, 1887. While firemen hose down the hotel, people are shown milling around on the lawn which is covered with assorted sheets, furniture, etc. (This is the earliest photograph of a major fire in Los Angeles and possibly the earliest photo of the newly formed Los Angeles Fire Department in action.)^^*  

 

Historical Notes

In December of 1887 the Belmont Hotel burned down just a little over a year from the time it was built. Several years later the private Belmont School for Girls was built on the same site. After the school was destroyed by yet another fire, the grounds were left vacant, except for five oil wells and a pumping plant for the Los Angeles Oil Field. On February 28, 1921, the Los Angeles Board of Education purchased the site for $100,000, for the purpose of constructing Belmont High School.

Belmont High School opened its doors on September 11, 1923, to about 500 students, all sophomores, and 28 faculty members.*^

 

Second Street Park

 
(1887)^ - View of Second Street Park, located on Diamond Street (later Beverly) and Lakeshore Avenue (later Glendale Blvd).  

 

Historical Notes

Located at the present-day intersection of Glendale Boulevard and First and Second streets, the park was part of an ambitious plan to transform what had been a remote, inaccessible wilderness into the upscale residential district of Crown Hill. Built around 1885 by the Los Angeles Improvement Company -- the real estate syndicate behind the Crown Hill development -- the park would attract potential customers to the site, which could be reached from Los Angeles by the Second Street Cable Railway.

The park's demise came quickly when the oil boom hit in the early 1890s and a forest of wooden derricks carpeted the neighborhood’s hills.  Area residents would soon flock to another nearby park, the municipally owned Westlake Park which opened in 1880.

In the early 1900s, the private park was sold to a real estate syndicate led by Tyler & Co. and J. F. Jones.  The syndicate filled in the former lake bed, graded the tract, and sold it off in 53 individual pieces.*#*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^## - View of Second Street Park and surrounding area circa 1890. The park was nestled in the ravine of the Arroyo de los Reyes.  

 

Historical Notes

Arroyo de los Reyes originates near the Catholic school on Glendale Boulevard – right by the 2 off-ramp.  It flowed southward, along Glendale Boulevard, occupied the area now taken by Echo Park Lake, and continued down 2nd Street, crossing through downtown LA, about a block or two south of Pershing Square, where it spread and created a big muddy mess.  These flows eventually connected with the Los Angeles River, when they didn’t seep into the ground first.^^^#

 

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(1886)^ - A view of Grand Avenue, south from 2nd in the year 1886. The right side of the street is lined with houses, hidden behind large trees. On the left side of the photograph, a horse-drawn carriage is seen mid-photo, and a half-wall, half-picket fence can be seen in the forefront, with a house barely visible behind trees and shrubbery. Grand Avenue is a long earthen road, and the sidewalks appear to also be unpaved.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^^ - View of Hill Street looking south from Court Street, showing an unpaved street and large homes (at right).  Also at right is one of the City’s first electric streetlights.  At 150-ft in height, it towers over all the surrounding homes.  

 

Historical Notes

The white three-story building with balconies is the Highland Villa, located on the northwest corner of 1st and Hill streets.

Approximately 30, 150-foot tall poles with carbon-arc lamps were installed in Downtown Los Angeles between 1882 and 1885.  These were reported to provide illumination equal to the level of a full moon.^^#^

Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.

 

 

 
(1886)^ - View looking east on 1st Street. The Times Building is under construction at middle left, on the northeast corner of 1st and Broadway. Left of that on Broadway is the People's Store. Numerous other buildings and houses dot the panoramic view.  

 

 

 

 
(1886)^^ - A view of the northwest corner of 1st & Broadway. Horses and carriages were common as were the stables and liveries. The De Turk Livery Feed & Sale Stable seen here later became the Tally Ho Stables. Later the first home of the Chamber of Commerce was located here.
 

 

Historical Notes

In the lower right hand corner of the photo is an excavation for the L.A. Times building which was completed in 1887. At the upper-left, the 3-story building at the northwest corner of First and Hill is the Highland Villa.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - View looking at the northeast corner of 1st and Broadway showing the Los Angeles Times Building (2nd location). The building next door, to the right, was occupied by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce from February 1889 until March 1890. Click HERE to see the 1st Los Angeles Times Building.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1884 Harrison Gray Otis bought out the Los Angeles Daily Times from the Mirror Company and formed the Times-Mirror Company.

Otis was known for his conservative political views, which were reflected in the paper. His home was one of three buildings that were targeted in the 1910 Los Angeles Times bombing. During his time as publisher of the Times Otis is known for coining the phrase "You are either with me, or against me."

His support for his adopted city was instrumental in the growth of the city. He was a member of a group of investors who bought land in the San Fernando Valley based on inside knowledge that the Los Angeles Aqueduct would soon irrigate it.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - Carriers of the Los Angeles Times assembled in the street outside the old building on 1st and Broadway.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - A view of the unpaved old Fort Street (since renamed Broadway), looking north. On the northeast corner of 1st and Broadway is the Los Angeles Times building, completed in 1887 (it was later dynamited in 1910). Adjoining the building was the second home of the Chamber of Commerce.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^ - Panoramic view looking east on an unpaved 1st Street from near Hill Street. The first cross street is Broadway, where a streetcar is turning the corner hading south onto Broadway. The Times Building is on the northeast corner of 1st and Broadway, and the Tally Ho Stables is on the northwest corner. The Metropolitan Stables is at right, on the south side of 1st Street. St. Vibiana's Church steeple is in the right distance.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1886)^ - An unpaved 6th Street from Main Street, looking west in 1886. Spring is the first cross street shown. The State Normal School, is at far right on a hill, the later site of the Los Angeles Central Library. The area is mainly residential.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1880s)* - Two drawings of Los Angeles. The upper is of Bunker Hill, with street light, and the lower of Central Park (later called Pershing Square), looking east.  

 

Historical Notes

The first electric street lights in Los Angeles were installed in 1882. Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Street Lights.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1880)^ - A horse and buggy plod down earthen, tree-lined Hill Street at Eleventh. Eucalyptus branches frame the photo on the left.   

 

 

 

Compton

 
(ca. 1885)^^ - View of Compton Boulevard looking west from Alameda Boulevard in Compton.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1867, Griffith Dickenson Compton led a group of thirty pioneers to the area. These families had traveled by wagon train south from Stockton, California in search of ways to earn a living other than in the rapid exhaustion of gold fields. Originally named Gibsonville, after one of the tract owners, it was later called Comptonville. However, to avoid confusion with the Comptonville located in Yuba County, the name was shortened to Compton.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1885)^ - View of Compton Boulevard with horses and buggies in standing water.  

 

Historical Notes

Because of its proximity to one of the main tributaries feeding into the Los Angeles River (Compton Creek), Compton and its surrounding area would periodically experience flooding especially during severe storms.

 

 

 
(ca. 1880s)^ - Man crossing a muddy Compton Blvd. Several horse-drawn wagons are parked along the curbs.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1887, the settlers realized it was time to make improvements to the local government. A series of town meetings were held to discuss incorporation of their little town. Griffith D. Compton donated his land to incorporate and create the city of Compton in 1889, but he did stipulate that a certain acreage be zoned solely for agriculture and named Richland Farms. 

In January 1888, they forwarded a petition supporting the incorporation of Compton to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who in turn forwarded the petition to the State Legislature. On May 11, 1888 the city of Compton was incorporated, it had a total population of 500 people. The first City Council meeting was held on May 14, 1888.*^

 

 

 

 
(1887)^ - View showing the business block in Compton including a hardware and grocer. A horse-drawn cart can be seen at right. Shop owners are standing in front of the brick building housing various businesses, posing for the camera.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1890s)^ - Front exterior of the Ambrose & Shepard General Merchandise Store, in Compton.  A horse drawn buggy is visible at right. At the store entrance, people are posing for the photograph, including a young boy sitting on his bicycle.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)^^ - Horses providing mechanical energy to operate an irrigation machine.  Seen are 4 horses tethered to a rotating pole which in turn operates ropes connected to a device raising water to fill a small reservoir used to irrigate the surrounding fields in Compton.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more early views of Compton

 

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Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (Santa Fe Railway) - 2nd Transcontinental

 
(1885)^ - View showing the first Santa Fe locomotive engine to enter Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad (aka Santa Fe) charted its own solo course across the continent in 1885 it chose Los Angeles as its western terminus, and in doing so fractured the Southern Pacific Railroad's near total monopoly on rail transportation within the state.

The original purpose of this new line was to augment the route to San Diego, established three years prior as part of a joint venture with the California Southern Railroad, but the Santa Fe would subsequently be forced to all but abandon these inland tracks through the Temecula Canyon (due to constant washouts) and construct its Surf Line along the coast to maintain its exclusive ties to Los Angeles.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1895)*^ - Passenger Train of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.  

Historical Notes

Santa Fe's entry into Southern California resulted in widespread economic growth and ignited a fervent rate war with the Southern Pacific.  It also led to Los Angeles' well-documented real estate "Boom of the Eighties." The Santa Fe Route led the way in passenger rate reductions (often referred to as "colonist fares") by, within a period of five months, lowering the price of a ticket from Kansas City, Missouri to Los Angeles from $125 to $15, and, on March 6, 1887 to a dollar! The Southern Pacific soon followed suit and the level of real estate speculation reached a new high, with "boom towns" springing up literally overnight. Free, daily railroad-sponsored excursions (complete with lunch and live entertainment) enticed overeager potential buyers to visit the many undeveloped properties firsthand and (hopefully) invest in the potential of the land.*^

The Moorish-inspired La Grande railroad station was used as a passenger terminal for Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.^

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)+^^ – View showing the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway locomotive #18 and a stagecoach.  

 

Historical Notes

Major advertising campaigns by the SP, Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and other major carriers of the day not only helped transform southern California into a major tourist attraction but generated intense interest in exploiting the area's agricultural potential. Word of the abundant work opportunities, high wages, and the temperate and healthful California climate spread throughout the Midwestern United States, and led to an exodus from such states as Iowa, Indiana, and Kansas; although the real estate bubble "burst" in 1889 and most investors lost their all, the Southern California landscape was forever transformed by the many towns, farms, and citrus groves left in the wake of this event.*^

 

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Cahuenga Valley Railroad

 
(1888)^ - Little steam engine and carriage of the Cahuenga Valley Railroad, which ran from Temple Street, Los Angeles, to Hollywood. Photograph is taken at Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox Avenue.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1880s)^ - In this photo the Cahuenga Valley Railroad line cable car is also called the "Dummy line." Note the inside of the cable car is actually hollow with wooden chairs being used for sitting. The Cahuenga Valley Railroad was a steam railroad built in the 1880's to provide access to Hollywood. Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Hollywood.  

 

 

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(1887)^ - Several men and children stand posed outside the New City Market at 252 South Spring Street.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1880s)^ - Drawing of the Downey Block on the northwest corner of Main and Temple Streets. Various horse-drawn vehicles are seen on the street, including horse cars to Agricultural Park/Washington Garden, Spring & 6th Streets/S.P.R.R. Depot, and Boyle Heights/Los Angeles and Aliso Avenue/Perry Villa Tract.  

 

Historical Notes

The Los Angeles Public Library was housed on the second floor of the Downey Block from 1872 to 1889.

The Downey Block was demolished in 1904. Since then the corner has been the site of two Federal Buildings: the Federal Building and Post Office (1910 - 1937) and the Federal Courthouse and U.S. Post Office Building (1940 - Present).

 

 

 

 
(1887)^^ - View looking north on Main Street showing the Downey Block (right) on the N/W corner of Main and Temple. The Temple Block (current site of City Hall) is seen at left. A multitude of horse-drawn carriges and wagons are 'parked' along the curbs.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^^ - View looking northeast showing the west side of Main Street.  The Cosmopolitan Hotel (formerly the Lafayette Hotel; subsequently the St. Elmo Hotel) can be seen in the lower right corner.  The Downey Block, on the northwest corner of Main and Temple streets, is seen at center-left. The structure with the triangular, peaked roof in the upper-right (above the Cosmopolitan Hotel) was built in 1864 as the St. Athanasius Episcopal Church; it was the first Protestant Church in Los Angeles located at the south-west corner of Temple and New High Streets. In the background, at left, the Nadeau Hotel (1882-1931) can be seen; it was located at the south-west corner of Spring and First Streets. Bunker Hill with houses and trees can be seen at upper-right.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^## – View looking north on Main Street showing the Cosmopolitan Hotel at left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^## - View showing the front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel (previously Lafayette Hotel) on Main Street. Note that the people standing on the sidewalk and front balcony appear to be posing for the photographer.  

 

 

First Electric Streetcars

 
(ca. 1887)^*# - Rear view of Los Angeles’ first electric streetcar at Pico and Main Street.  Note the draped curtains on side of trolley.  

 

Historical Notes

On September 11, 1886, Charles H. Howland chartered the Los Angeles Electric Railway Company.  It began operations on January 4, 1887 with the line opening from Pico Boulevard and Main Street traveling west to Harvard Boulevard.*##

 

 

 

 
(1887)#^*^ – Wide angle view showing well-dressed riders standing on and in front of two of the Los Angeles’ first electric streetcars on Pico Street.  The sign on the side of the streetcar reads:  “Electric R.R. – Maple Ave. – Pico St.”  

 

 

 

 

 
(1887)^ - View of the first electric trolley in Los Angeles as seen on Pico St. and Maple Avenue. The front car with its large wheels is pulling a trolley full of passengers.  

 

Historical Notes

The first electric streetcars in Los Angeles began operating on the Los Angeles Electric Railway Company Pico Street line in January 1887. These cars used a two troller system designed by Leo Daft to get electricity from overhead wires. While the cars were capable of transporting people quickly, technical problems, breakdowns and delayed service were frequent. Following a powerhouse boiler explosion in June 1888, operation resumed with horse cars. Soon after the company declared bankruptcy.^^^*

 

 

 

 
(1887)^ - View of the first electric car in Los Angeles, the G.O.P. line out Pico to Hoover Street. The trolley is filled to capacity with men standing on the runner board.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1886, Charles H. Howland chartered the Los Angeles Electric Railway Company, L.A.'s 1st electric trolley system. Four years earlier (1882), he also built the first electric light power plant in Los Angeles, on the corner of Alameda and Banning Streets.*

 

 

 

 
(1883)* - Banning Street Electrical Plant -- The first electric light plant in Los Angeles was built in 1882 by Charles L. Howland on the corner of Alameda and Banning Street. Originally built to provide electricity for his new streetlights (LA's first electric streetlights), Howland would later expand the plant to provide power for his new streetcar company. Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Streetlights.  

 

Historical Notes

Charles Howland is also known for starting Los Angeles' first electric utililty, LA Electric Compnay, in 1883. That company would evolve to become LA Gas and Electric Corporation. In 1937, the electric side of LA Gas and Electric Corp. was bought out by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The gas side of the company became Southern California Gas Company.

 

 

Click HERE to see more in First Electricity in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 

 
(1888)* - Banning Street Electrical Plant now showing two smokestacks. The building as been enlarged from its original footprint as seen in the previous photo. Charles Howland built the power plant in 1882 and incorporated to become LA's first Electric Utility - LA Electric Company.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Power Generation

 

 

 

 

 
(1887)^ - Panoramic view of Highland Park looking north in 1887. Garvanza was the north section of Highland Park. The Garvanza Hotel is the largest building in this picture (center-left). Arroyo Seco is in the foreground. In the right background is Johnson Lake; just below the lake is Miller's Hall.  

 

Historical Notes

One of the oldest settled areas of Los Angeles, Highland Park is also one of the most scenic due to its location along the Arroyo Seco, between the Mt. Washington hills, the San Rafael hills and the Monterey Hills.*^

Garvanza is considered a sub-district of Highland Park.  The area was named for the garbanzo beans that once flourished there. In 1899, Garvanza was annexed by the City of Los Angeles.*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1886)^ - Exterior view of the newly constructed Queen Anne revival style Garvanza Hotel.  

 

Historical Notes

Opened in 1886, the hotel was located at South Avenue 63 and York Boulevard in Garvanza, a former section of Highland Park.^

 

 

 

 
(1886)^ - Los Angeles Plaza in 1886, looking northeast. Olvera Street is at extreme left. Note the landscaping around the Plaza and the degree to which it has grown.
 

 

 

 

 

 
(1887)^ - Aerial photo of Los Angeles looking East on June 27, 1887 taken from a balloon. Note the farmland south of Second Street and east of Main Street to the Los Angeles River. The circular form of the Plaza is visible to the center left.*^  

 

Historical Notes

Floating some 9,000 feet above the city in a hot-air balloon in 1887, Edwin H. Husher took what may be the first aerial photo of Los Angeles.^#^*

By 1887 the City's population had grown to over 20,000 people with most of the new development having taken place south of the orignal Pueblo and LA Plaza as seen in the above photo.

 

 

 
(1887)^ - Same photo as above but annotated to show the location of the Plaza and major streets. The circular form of the Plaza is visible to the center left. Note how the City has spread out mainly to the South of the Plaza. There is still a large area of farmland south of Second Street and east of Main Street to the Los Angeles River.^*#  

 

 

 

 
(2013)^#^* - Roughly the same view in 2013. Satellite imagery courtesy of Google Earth.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1887, Los Angeles City's population: Approx. 20,000. *^

In 2013, Los Angeles City's population: 3.9 million. *^

 

 

 

Before and After

 
(1887)^ - Aerial view of Early Los Angeles - Population: 20,000   (2013)^#^* - Aerial view of Los Angeles - Population 3.9 million

 

 

 

 

 
(1880)^^ - View of Buena Vista Street, looking north from the school grounds on Fort Moore Hill. Buena Vista Street later became North Broadway. The adobe at left was used as a tearoom.  

 

 

 

 
(1886)^- The intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Buena Vista, looking southwest toward Fort Moore, when Los Angeles was a small town. Buena Vista Street was later renamed Broadway.  

 

Historical Notes

This section of Buena Vista is soon to be renamed Justicia running south from Bellevue, which would become Sunset and then ultimately become Cesar E. Chavez Avenue (which here runs diagonally across the bottom of the frame from the lower left corner to the right edge) to Temple. Buena Vista north of Bellevue would become N. Broadway. The Broadway tunnel is still fifteen years in the future, the north portal of which will exit the base of the hill behind these adobes. Mary Hollister Banning's house can be seen on the crest of the hill. It will overlook the north portal. #^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - View of Fort Moore Hill, showing the home of Mary Hollister Banning (upper-center), widow of General Phineas Banning. Part of the trenches of old Fort Moore, built in 1846-1847, are visible in the upper left. The structure was originally built by Jacob Philippi as a beer hall, but Banning purchased and transformed it into a home.  

 

Historical Notes

Fort Hill (also known as Fort Moore Hill) was a prominent hill overlooking the pueblo of Los Angeles. Its commanding view of the city made it a strategic location.

Fort Moore was an historic U.S. Military Fort during the Mexican–American War. Its approximate location was at what is now the Hollywood Freeway near the intersection of North Hill Street and West Cesar Chavez Avenue, downtown. The hill on which it was built became known as Fort Moore Hill, most of which was removed in 1949 for construction of the freeway. The hill was located one block north of Temple Street and a short distance south of present day Cesar Chavez Avenue, between the Los Angeles Civic Center and Chinatown.

The fort is now memorialized by the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial, 451 North Hill Street.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - Exterior view of Plaza Church seen from the plaza, across the street. A trolley can be seen on the right side of the photo. In the background can be seen the Banning House sitting on top of Fort Moore Hill.
 

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - Horses and buggies at the Los Angeles Plaza in 1888. The California Bakery is seen in the background, as well as a covered wagon advertising the Home Ice Company. A horse and buggy in the foreground advertises for Bluett & Sullivan at 1st and Spring streets. The Banning Residence can be seen in the background on top of Fort Moore Hill overlooking the LA Plaza. Click HERE to see more in Early Plaza of L.A.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - Men standing outside a saloon in Sonora Town at the corner of Bellevue and upper Main Street, which later was known as San Fernando Street and finally as North Spring Street. Adobes surround the intersection. On the hill in the background is the residence of J. W. Robinson, founder of the department store bearing his name.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - Looking south from First Street at Spring. A parade is seen heading north on Spring Street.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - The north side of First Street between Spring and Main Streets in 1888. The Widney Building is on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Joseph Pomeroy Widney, M.D. D.D. LL.D (December 26, 1841 – July 4, 1938) was a physician, clergyman, entrepreneur-philanthropist, proto-environmentalist, prohibitionist, racial theorist, and prolific author.

He at one time owned the Widney Block on First Street (near the corner of Temple and Spring Streets), another Widney Block located at Sixth between Hill and Broadway, and a property at the corner of Ninth and Santee streets, where he erected the Nazarene Methodist Episcopal Church. Additionally, he owned a building at 445–447 Aliso Street, where the first college of medicine for the University of Southern California was located from 1885 to 1896.*^

 

 

 
(1888)^ - Looking west on 1st Street from Spring Street. The tower in the background is the general alarm tower of the fire department.  The 3-story white building with the balconies is the Highland Villa (n/w corner of 1st and Hill).  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^## – View looking toward the southwest corner of Main and Court streets showing several horse-drawn wagons parked along the curb.  On the right, behind the horse drawn wagon, can be seen stairs leading up to the Old Clocktower Courthouse.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - View looking north on Main Street near 1st Street. Horse-drawn carriages can be seen throughout. The Baker Block can be seen in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - View looking north on Main Street from the Downey Building located just south of the Baker Block on the 300 block of N. Main Street. In the distance can be seen the Plaza Church where Main Street veers to the left.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^## – View looking south on Main Street as seen from the Pico House.  A horse-drawn streetcar shares the street with pedestrians, horse-drawn wagons, and a man on horseback (center-left).  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^##  – View looking south showing the Baker Block and on the historic 300 block of N. Main Street.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the Historic 300 Block of N. Main Street

 

 

 

City Hall (1884 - 1888)

 
(ca. 1886)^ - View looking west on 2nd Street from Spring Street. The building to the right was Los Angeles City Hall between 1884-1888 (site of current Los Angeles Times Building). Across the street is the Hollenbeck Block, with the First Presbyterian Church behind it on the southeast corner of 2nd and Fort Street (later Broadway).  

 

Historical Notes

The following historical timeline lists the buildings used by City Council, also known as City Hall, since 1850, when Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality:

◆ 1850 - 1853 - used rented hotel and other buildings for City meetings

◆ 1853 - rented adobe house (aka Rocha Adobe) on Spring Street - across from current City Hall (now parking lot for Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center). The buliding was shared with the County who used it as a Court House.

◆ 1861 - moved into John Temple's Clocktower Market Building, but only stayed for less than a year before the County Court House moved-in

◆ 1861 - 1884 - relocated back to the Rocha Adobe and stayed for over 20 years

◆ 1884 - 1888 - moved to new City Hall Building at South Spring Street and West 2nd Street (site of current Los Angeles Times Building)

◆ 1888 - 1928 - moved to new Romanesque Revival Building on 226-238 South Broadway between 2nd Street and 3rd Street; demolished in 1928 and now site of parking lot between LA Times Parking structure and 240 Broadway.

◆ 1928 - moved to current City Hall Building *^

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^ - View looking at the northwest corner of 2nd and Spring streets showing the newly built Bryson-Bonebrake Block. On the left is the Hollenbeck Block shortly after it was enlarged to include a 3rd and 4th floor. Just to the left of the Bryson-Bonebrake Block can be seen part the short-lived City Hall Building (1884 - 1888).  

 

Historical Notes

The Bryson-Bonebrake Block was one of the more important office buildings built during the 1880s building boom in Los Angeles. It had six stories, with a typical Queen Anne Style variety of shapes, materials and ornamentation for which architect John Cather Newsom was famous.*##*

Click HERE to see more early views of the Bryson-Bonebrake Block.

 

 

 
(1888)^ - View looking south on Broadway from 2nd Street showing the new City Hall. It was built in 1888 to replace the City Hall seen in previous two photos.  

 

Historical Notes

The new City Hall with its rectangular tower was located at 226 So. Broadway. Built in 1888, it was used until 1928 when the current City Hall was completed.

Click HERE to see more early views of the 1888-built City Hall.

 

* * * * *

 

 

 
(1888)^ - Photo of the first concert given by the Ellis Club, the first male chorus in Southern California, started by C. J. Ellis and three friends and organized on April 6, 1888. There were 16 men. The concert was given on July 19, 1888, at Turnverein Hall, with 40 singers. Conductor was Harold Burton. Charles James Ellis, founder, is in the last row, first person left of the center aisle.  

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - View looking south on Spring between 1st and 2nd streets. Horse-drawn buggies are parked in front a commercial building on the left. The sign above the large awning reads: GORDON BROS. A horse-drawn streetcar is seen heading north on Spring Street.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^## – View of Spring Street looking north from near 4th Street.  In the far distance can be seen the Bryson-Bonebrake Block at the northwest corner of Spring and 2nd streets.  

 

 

 

Bryson-Bonebrake Block

 
(ca. 1888)^ - Drawing of the west side of Spring Street, including the Bryson-Bonebrake Block on the left, between 1st and 2nd Streets as it appeared circa 1888.  

 

Historical Notes

Designed by architects Joseph Carter Newsom and Samuel Newsom,  the Bryson-Bonebrake Block was completed in 1888. The 126-room bank and office building cost $224,000, a staggering sum at the time. Bonebrake was one of the richest men in the city at the time, and he could afford making such an investment. He located the main headquarters of his bank in the Bryson-Bonebrake Block.^##*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^ - Spring Street looking north from the roof of the Stowell Building at 2nd Street. The Hollenbeck Block/Hotel is the first building on the left, next the Bryson-Bonebrake Block (n/w corner of 2nd and Spring). Also seen in the background are the LA County Courthouse, roof of Phillips Block, Temple Market Block and Baker Block.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1888)^ - View of Spring Street at 2nd Street, looking north. The Hollenbeck Hotel is on the left (southwest corner). The Bryson-Bonebrake Block can be seen across the street on the northwest corner. A horse-drawn streetcar is in the middle of the street and two horse-drawn carriages are seen parked at the curb.  

 

Historical Notes

Horse-drawn streetcars remained the primary mode of public transportation through the 1880s, at their peak rolling through much of the booming city of Los Angeles. But soon technological innovation would doom the horse-powered street railway with the introduction of electric cable streetcars.^*^*

 

* * * * *

 

 

Los Angeles Cable Railway

 
(ca. 1889)^ - View over the 1st Street viaduct with a L.A. Cable Railway car and a horse-drawn wagon crossing the viaduct. The Los Angeles Terminal railway depot, yards, and roundhouse are shown. In foreground below, at track level, is an Atlantic and Pacific flatcar.  

 

Historical Notes

Incorporated in 1887, Los Angeles Cable Railway was the largest transit venture in the city, operating from Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles out to Westlake Park and Grand Avenue. It was the last city line to convert to electrification. It was renamed the Pacific Railway Company in 1889 and was later sold to Henry E. Huntington.*##

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^ - View of the Los Angeles Cable Railroad viaduct at Spring Street which crossed the LA River to Downey Ave.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1888 a cable line succeeded the old horse car line which went over the old North Spring Street bridge to Downey Avenue, East Los Angeles. The cables were carried over the Southern Pacific freight yards to the bridge on this old viaduct. Its use was abandoned in 1904 and it was torn down in 1910. Counting this old viaduct as a part of the old North Spring Street bridge, that ancient wooden structure was more than two miles long. Downey Avenue is now the portion of North Broadway east of the Los Angeles River.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^ - Los Angeles Cable Railroad viaduct at Spring Street and College Street. The Capitol Milling Company and the old Central Pacific (later Southern Pacific) freight house can be seen in the distance. At that time this was the center of commerce activity for the city.  

 

Historical Notes

Amazingly, the building with the company name still stands. The new Los Angeles to Pasadena light rail line (The Gold Line) passes directly in front of the building on an elevated structure, with the Chinatown station located just to the left of the cable cars in the photo above.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^^ - Streetcar coming over the south end of the Los Angeles Cable Railroad viaduct at Spring Street and College Street. The elevated viaduct comes in from the distance at right, extending into the left foreground where a streetcar and its trailer car make their way down the off-ramp full of passengers, a pedestrian in front of them. The sign over the exit-way reads "Caution, no Thoroughfare." The Capitol Milling Company building is partially visible in the background. Utility poles stand, off in the distance to the right, along with hills. The caption under the photo reads "Though Horses and Buggies Created the Traffic Problems About 1889, the Los Angeles Cable Railway Used This Elevated Viaduct".  

 

Historical Notes

At the time, this was one of the most extensive cable-worked railroads in operation in the U.S., its length being about twenty-one miles of single track, worked by three power stations.**#

 

 

Click HERE to see more in an 1891 Scientific American Article on the LA Cable RR Viaduct.**#

 

 

 

 

 
(1889)^ - View of opening day for the Los Angeles Cable Railway to Boyle Heights at the First Street Bridge on August 1, 1889  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles Cable Railway was the largest transit venture in the city, operating from Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles out to Westlake Park and Grand Avenue. The opening of the viaduct line over the LA River benefited real estate developers and residents in the Boyle Heights area.*##

 

 

 

Los Angeles Cable Railway - Boyle Heights

 
(1889)*^^# - A crew of workers is busily employed digging a trench to prepare for the tracking for the Los Angeles Cable Railway at First near State streets.  At the right are a couple of residences, while some commercial buildings are down the street and to the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Notation on the reverse side of photos reads:  "Broad gauge, double track horse car line, which W.H. Workman built to Boyle Hts & sold to cable company." 

 

 

 

 
(1889)*^^# – View showing the laying of the Los Angeles Cable Railway's tracking system along First Street near Cummings in Boyle Heights.  Notice that a horse-drawn streetcar has been halted to demonstrate the contrast of the "old-fashioned" 1870s system to the new technology of the cable system.  A mixture of residential and commercial buildings, including a grocery near the streetcar at the left, are partially in view.  

 

Historical Notes

Notation on the reverse side of photos reads:  "Broad gauge, double track horse car line, which W.H. Workman built to Boyle Hts & sold to cable company." 

 

 

 

 
(1889)^*# - View of the inauguration of cable railway in Boyle Heights which became Los Angeles' first streetcar suburb.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1889)^^ - Residents celebrate the 1889 opening of the Los Angeles Cable Railway's in East Los Angeles.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1895)^## - View looking west on 1st Street at Boyle Avenue. An electric streetcar passes by the Boyle Hotel located on the northwest corner.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1858, Irish-born Andrew A. Boyle (1818–1871) came to Los Angeles from San Francisco (having also previously lived in New Orleans and Texas after his 1832 migration to America.) Boyle built the first brick house east of the Los Angeles River and cultivated the Lopez vineyards, manufacturing and selling wine under the Paredon Blanco name. He also operated a shoe store in Los Angeles and was a member of the city council.

After Andrew Boyle's death in early 1871, his property passed to his only daughter and her husband, William Henry Workman (1839–1918), a saddler and rising politician in town. As the first growth boom was underway in the Los Angeles area, Workman decided to subdivide part of Paredon Blanco. In Spring 1875, he partnered with banker and real estate speculator Isaias W. Hellman and John Lazzarovich, who was married to a member of the Lopez family, and announced the creation of the new neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

Before long, the growth boom ended, largely because of the failure of the bank co-owned by Workman's uncle, William Workman (1799–1876), owner of the Rancho La Puente in the eastern San Gabriel Valley. It was not until the next development boom, which took place during Workman's tenure as mayor in the 1887-88 period, that Boyle Heights grew rapidly and became a desirable residential area for middle and upper middle class Angelenos. Some large Victorian-era homes still survive in Boyle Heights as testament to the late nineteenth-century status the neighborhood possessed.*^

 

 

 

 
(1889)#^^ - View of the Boyle Hotel-Cummings Block on the northwest corner of 1st and Bolye Ave. A horse-drawn carriage is parked at the curb while a group of men stand behind it on the sidewalk. A horse-drawn streetcar is in the lower right. Also, several men can be seen on the building roof balcony and parapet.  

 

Historical Notes

Located at the corner of Boyle Avenue and E. First Street in Boyle Heights, the Boyle Hotel, also known as the Cummings Block, is one of the oldest remaining commercial structures in Los Angeles and is significant for its many layers of history. Designed by architect W. R. Norton and built in 1889 for community leaders George Cummings and his wife Maria del Sacramento Lopez, this Victorian-era hotel became a social and political center for the community and encouraged the residential and commercial development of Boyle Heights.

The building features decorative patterned brickwork, cast iron storefront columns, and a corner turret with an open belvedere. #*^

 

 

 
(2012)#*^ - View looking west on 1st Street at Boyle Avenue shortly after the building was renovated.  

 

Historical Notes

In 2012, renovation of the relic of Victorian-era Boyle Hotel was completed with a turret, arches and a domed cupola crowning the four-story brick building. 

The East Los Angeles Community Corp., a nonprofit developer, restored the Victorian Italianate-style building, as part of an approximately $25 million project to transform the former hotel into affordable housing. #^^

 

 

 

Before and After

 
(ca. 1895)^## - View looking west on 1st Street at Boyle Avenue.   (2012)#*^ -View looking west on 1st Street at Boyle Avenue after 2012 renovation.

 

Historical Notes

In the twentieth century, the building became associated with the many mariachi musicians who rented rooms in the hotel and gathered in the adjacent plaza to await customers. Although the condition of the building deteriorated through the years and some of the decorative elements were removed, the Boyle Hotel underwent a full-scale rehabilitation that renovated the interior for use as apartments and restored missing architectural elements, such as the upper portion of the corner turret. #*^ 

The Boyle Hotel was declared Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #891 in 2007.

 

 

 

 
(1887)^ - Spring St. looking north from Nadeau Hotel on the southwest corner of 1st and Spring. Los Angeles National Bank Building is on the northeast corner, where City Hall is today. Horse-drawn streetcars and carriages can be seen.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^^ - View of  Main Street looking north from Second Street.  A cannon is visible on the parapet at the lower left of the photo.  Streetcars and numerous horse-drawn wagons and carriages move up and down the dirt street or are parked along the curb. The sign on the left reads: OPERA RESTAURANT.  

 

Historical Notes

The Child's Opera House is seen on the right of the photo.  Built in 1883, it opened May 1884. Sarah Bernhardt performed in "La Tosca" at the Grand on September 14, 1891. Starting in December 1894 this became the Orpheum -- the first home for Orpheum Circuit vaudeville in Los Angeles.  Orpheum moved in 1903 to what was later known as the Lyceum Theatre. #** 

Beyond it the bell tower is atop the headquarters of the Confidence Engine Company, a volunteer organization which was formed in 1874 -- Headquarters 7 Reg. N.G.C. formed May 1888. The Opera Restaurant is at left. The Chamber of Commerce has its second quarters in the room above the restaurant. The new U.S. Hotel is in the distance.^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^ - Before being run by electric lines, the cable cars were pulled by horses. Shown here is the horse barn at 12th and Olive Streets which ran the "red line", running from Broadway out E. 1st St. to Boyle Heights, Broadway to 7th, west on 7th to Westlake Park. The sign on the barn reads "Los Angeles Cable Railway Co."  

 

Historical Notes

In 1887, there were several streetcar lines operating in the Los Angeles area almost all utilizing horses and mules as motive power. That year the Los Angeles Cable Railway Company purchased most of these lines and began to expand the streetcar system with electric-powered streetcars, however, they soon ran into financial difficulties.*##^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^ - View of five men in and around a horse-drawn trolley as it travels down Lincoln Park Avenue. Near the roof of the trolley, a sign reads: "Ninth, Temple Block, Downey Ave.", indicating on which streets it travels. A large house is visible on the hill in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1888)^ - Two separate cable cars arrive at the same location (7th and Grand) from different directions. The corner building is the main power station for the Pacific Railway Company (formerly Los Angeles Railway).  

 

Historical Notes

In September 1888, the Los Angeles Cable Railway Company sold their controlling interest to C. B. Holmes, and associates, of Chicago, Ill. They organized a new company, known as the Pacific Railway Company, capitalized at $5,000,000.00 and finished the construction of the cable lines, which when completed covered many of the LA streets with double tracks.*##^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^^ – Close-up view of a Grand Avenue Line cable car with its trailer looking south on Grand Avenue between Seventh Street and Eighth Street, showing the Eighth and Grand School in the background. The open-air trailer car with its wrought-iron guard rails stands to the right, with a sign that reads "Redondo, S.P. Santa Fe & Terminal Railway Depots". The main car stands hitched to it to the left, its striped door-flaps down on the far side. Its signs read: "Hawley King & Co. / Everything on Wheels", "[...] Main St., Broadway & Grand Ave." and "Pacific Railway Company". The 8th and Grand School is visible just behind heavy tree cover to the left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1890s)^ - Interior view of the Pacific Railway Company, located at 7th and Grand, where huge wheels controlled the lines pulling the cable cars.  

 

 

 

 
(1890s)^ - View of a flooded intersection at 7th Street and Grand Avenue. On the right, two men stay on high ground trying to avoid the rising water. To the left, a cable car appears to be stalled in the middle of the intersection.  

 

Historical Notes

The principal power station for the Pacific Railway Company was at Seventh Street and Grand Avenue. Between 1904-1910, this building was used as a Post Office. Later, J. W. Robinson’s Dry Goods would build their first store at this corner.*##^

 

 

   
  (1889)^ - Spring Street looking north from the Nadeau Hotel on 1st Street. This event marked the opening day of the double-track cable line, June 8, 1889.  

 

Historical Notes

The Pacific Railway Company was formed in 1888, and soon thereafter purchased the holdings of a financially strapped Los Angeles Cable Railway Company.  With a new influx of capital ($5,000,000) they began expanding the Los Angeles area cable car system with double tracks.

The first section of the cable road was put in operation on June 8th, 1889, and routed from Seventh and Grand Avenue, via Seventh; Broadway; First; Spring; Main to Requena and Main Streets.*##*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^ - View looking south on Spring Street at 1st. Electric streetcars are now seen on the road. The 4-story Nadeau Hotel stands on the southwest corner of Spring and 1st.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1889)#^ - View looking south on Broadway showing the First Presbyterian Church on the southeast corner of Second Street and Broadway (left) with City Hall (LA's 3rd) several lots behind it. The California Bank Building stands on the southwest corner on the right. Also seen are horse-drawn carriages, pedestrians and a street car with a sign reading "Downey Avenue."  

 

Historical Notes

Los Angeles’3rd City Hall was built in 1888 at 226-238 South Broadway.

California Bank Building was built in 1887, southwest corner of 2nd and Broadway.

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^ - A parade on Main and Temple streets, looking north. The City's new 150-ft tall electric light pole can be seen in the center of the photo.
 

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1903)^ – View looking northwest showing the Olvera Adobe (converted to office space), on the north side of the Plaza, facing Marchessault St. Olvera Street is out of view, west of the adobe. Los Angeles St (running left to right in the foreground) is on the adobe's east side. The building behind the Olvera Adobe, with the stepped gable end, is a Pacific Electric Power Station. It was built in 1903.  

 

Historical Notes

Agustín Olvera arrived from Mexico in 1834 where he had been a Justice of the Peace, and held various offices in the Mexican administration. In 1842 he was granted Rancho Mission Viejo, and three years later, was also granted the 35,501-acre Rancho Cuyamaca.

Olvera is noted for helping to bridge the gap between the governance of California by Mexico and the U.S.; helping sign the Treaty of Cahuenga, thus ending the war in California; was appointed to be Judge of the First Instance in 1849; was elected as the first county judge of the newly formed County of Los Angeles in 1850; and eventually entered private practice law.

In 1877, the Los Angeles City Council changed the name of Wine Street to Olvera Street in his honor. Marchessault Street is named for French Canadian, Damien Marchessault, who served as mayor of Los Angeles from 1859-1860, and again from 1861-1865. During his term in office, the Plaza Church was rebuilt and the City Gas Company was organized. Marchessault committed suicide in the city council chamber in 1868, after becoming despondent over public criticism of the water system and over gambling debts.^

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - View across the L.A. Plaza to the beginning of Olvera Street. The view is to the north. The Olvera Adobe can be seen to the right on the northeast corner of Olvera and Marchessault streets.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)* - The Los Angeles Plaza, around 1890. The one story building on the left is the former residence of Don Augustin Olvera. The large two story on the right is the former residence of Don Vicente Lugo. The LA City Water Company is at the northwest corner of Marchessault and North Alameda. Some of the area shown is now occupied by the Union Terminal.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1868, the City of Los Angeles approved a franchise water agreement on a 30 year lease basis with the private Los Angeles City Water Company.

In 1899, after the end of the lease, a $2.09 million bond measure for the purchase of LA City Water Co.’s system was approved by city voters by a margin of nearly eight to one.  After over two years of litigation the City of Los Angeles finally regained control of its water system on February 3, 1902. A new department was created called the Los Angeles Water Department.

Once the purchase was completed, the Los Angeles City Water Department acquired all assets of the privately owned water system including its main office building at Marchessault and North Alameda.

Click HERE to see more in Water Department's Original Office Building.

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Plaza of L.A.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)#*^* -  View showing the Taylor Grocery and, left, Taylor Milling Company, located on San Fernando Road adjacent to the Los Angeles River not too far from where the L.A. Pueblo was established.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1781, the Pueblo was established just downstream from the above site, on the river's west bank. The alignment now known as San Fernando Road provided the major access route between the Pueblo of Los Angeles and the Mission San Fernando.

Starting in the late 1890’s, the site was owned by J. Hartley Taylor. Mr. Taylor was a prolific entrepreneur who owned the Taylor Grocery and the Taylor Milling Company, a commercial feed manufacturer on San Fernando Road. Taylor raised oats, barley, hogs and pigeons on the riverfront land. #*^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)#*^*- Another view of Taylor Grocery and Taylor Milling Co. on San Fernando Road.  

 

Historical Notes

The Taylor property became a railyard yard in the 1920’s, when Southern Pacific Railroad outgrew its Midway Yard facility. It was commonly referred to as the Taylor Yard. #*^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^^ - View of the Los Angeles County Courthouse nearing completion. Construction began in 1888. Broadway is in front, Temple Street on the left, and New High Street behind. The holes seen in the main tower are for the yet to be installed clocks.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1891)^ - View of Belderrain Adobe (foreground) sits in the shadow of the Los Angeles County Courthouse, looking south across Temple Street.  

 

Historical Notes

Constructed in 1891, the Los Angeles County Courthouse stood where the city’s first high school, Los Angeles High School, had been located from 1873 until it moved to North Hill Street to allow for construction of the courthouse.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1891)^## - View of the Los Angeles County Courthouse shortly after it was built. Streetcar can be seen on Temple Street.  

 

Historical Notes

This building served as the courthouse until 1932, when it sustained damage in the Long Beach earthquake, and was demolished in 1936.^

 

 

 
(ca. 1891)^## - Corner view of the Los Angeles County Courthouse. Horse-drawn wagon is heading west on Temple Street while pedestrians are seen walking up the incline along the courthouse bulding. Note the addition of palm trees.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1891)^## - Corner of Spring and Temple looking west. The Temple Block is on the left behind the two men leaning on their bicycles. The LA County Courthouse can be seen in the background. This is the current site of the Los Angeles City Hall.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)* - View looking south on Broadway from the Los Angeles County Courthouse on Temple Street. De Turk Stable is seen on 1st and Broadway, which later became the first home of the Chamber of Commerce and then the Los Angeles County Law Library. City Hall can be seen in the upper-left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1889)^ - View looking west on 2nd Street.  Cable car is seen on the corner of Broadway and 2nd Street.  

 

Historical Notes

The Second Street Cable was the earliest access line over Bunker Hill. In operation from 1885 to 1889, it ran from Spring Street to its western terminus at Belmont Avenue on Crown Hill. Andrew Hallidie constructed the line. He was the builder of San Francisco’s famed cable line.^^

In 1893, Andrew Hallidie would also engineer the Mt. Lowe Great Incline in the neighboring city of Altadena. It was a cable mechanism that raised and lowered funiculars approximately 6,000 feet up the San Gabriel Mountains.*^

Click HERE to see more in Mt. Lowe Railway.

 

* * * * *

 

 

Burbank

 
(ca. 1887)^^ - View of Olive Avenue looking southeast, showing Burbank in the distance. An unpaved road fills most of the frame, showing a horse-drawn trolley-car track at its center that was discontinued after roughly one year. In the distance, a horse-drawn carriage navigates the road, flanked to either side by diffuse farm homesteads. A windmill tower and the spires of a church can be seen to the left of the street. Mountains are visible along the horizon.  

 

Historical Notes

At the time the American Civil War broke out Dr. David Burbank established his profession as a dentist in Pueblo de Los Angeles. In 1867, he purchased Rancho La Providencia from David W. Alexander and Francis Mellus, and he purchased the western portion of the Rancho San Rafael (4,603 acres) from Jonathan R. Scott. Dr. Burbank's property reached nearly 9,200 acres at a cost of $9,000. He eventually became known as one of the largest and most successful sheep raisers in southern California, resulting in him stopping his practice of dentistry and investing heavily in real estate in Los Angeles.*^

 

 

 

 
(1887)^*^^ - View of the Burbank Villa Hotel on Olive Avenue. It was built by Dr. David Burbank and his son-in-law John W. Griffin. In the distance can be seen Burbank Block.  

 

Historical Notes

The Burbank Villa Hotel cost $30,000 to build and was later renamed the Santa Rosa Hotel which was a popular place for weddings and galas. The hotel was remodeled into apartments in the 1920's and by 1927 was torn down and later replaced by the Downtown Burbank Station (Bob Hope) Post Office.^*^^

 

 

 

 
(1889)^ - View of Olive Avenue looking north shortly after the founding of Burbank. On the left side a part of the Burbank Times can be seen. Right next to it is the old boomtime hotel, the Burbank Villa Hotel followed by the Burbank Block, erected in 1889.  

 

Historical Notes

When the area that became Burbank was settled in the 1870s and 1880s, the streets were aligned along what is now Olive Avenue, the road to the Cahuenga Pass and downtown Los Angeles. These were largely the roads the Indians traveled and the early settlers took their produce down to Los Angeles to sell and to buy supplies along these routes.*^

 

 

 
(1895)^ - Exterior view of the Burbank Block (Brick Block), the first brick building in town located at San Fernando Road and Olive Avenue (now Golden Mall). Horse-drawn carriages are parked alongside of the building.  

 

Historical Notes

A shrewd businessman, foreseeing the value of rail transport, Burbank sold Southern Pacific Railroad a right-of-way through the property for one dollar. The first train passed through Burbank on April 5, 1874. A boom created by a rate war between the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific brought people streaming into California shortly thereafter, and a group of speculators purchased much of Dr. Burbank's land holdings in 1886 for $250,000.*^

 

 

 
(1889)^ - View showing a group of men sitting on chairs and benches in front of the Burbank Block. The Brick Block was erected during 1887 by the Provedencia Land & Water Co. for the newly planted town of Burbank.  

 

Historical Notes

The group of speculators who bought the acreage from Dr. Burbank formed the Providencia Land, Water, and Development Company and began developing the land, calling the new town "Burbank" after its founder, and began offering farm lots on May 1, 1887.*^

 

 

 
(ca.1905)^^ - Photograph of a view of San Fernando Road in Burbank. A riderless horse-drawn carriage is parked outside a the small Knoppes Real Estate building to the far right. Farther left, a two-story brick building for Sylvester Goodenow Hardware and Wood's Economy Store stands, beyond which a one-story shop front for the Burbank Department Store can be seen, along with a two-story building which features a connected spired tower (the Burbank Block). Sign on the department store reads: "A. O. Kendall Prop.".  

 

Historical Notes

The establishment of a water system in 1887 allowed farmers to irrigate their orchards and provided a stronger base for agricultural development.   The original plot of the new townsite of Burbank extended from what is now Burbank Boulevard on the north, to Grandview Avenue in Glendale on the south, and from the top of the Verdugo Hills on the east to what is now known as Clybourn Avenue on the west.*^

 

 

 
(1910)#^** – View looking south on Olive Avenue showing several men and a woman on horseback posing for the camera.  Burbank was developing from a sprawling sheep ranch to a populated city.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1904, Burbank received international attention for having world heavyweight boxing champion James J. Jeffries become a major landowner in the town. Jeffries bought 107 acres to build a ranch on Victory Boulevard. He eventually raised cattle and sold them in Mexico and South America, becoming one of the first citizens to engage in foreign trade. He eventually built a large ranch home and barn near where Victory and Buena Vista Street now intersect. The barn was later removed and reassembled at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.

The citizens of Burbank had to put up a $48,000 subsidy to get the reluctant Pacific Electric Streetcar officials to agree to extend the line from Glendale to Burbank. The first Red Car rolled into Burbank on September 6, 1911, with a tremendous celebration. That was about two months after the town became a city.*^

 

* * * * *

 

 

San Fernando Mission

 
(ca. 1890)^^ - Exterior view of Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana from the west end of the cloister. The mission cloister and building is in dilapidated condition. There are several people standing underneath the cloister peering outward.  

 

Historical Notes

The San Fernando Mission was founded on September 8, 1797, and named for Saint Ferdinand III, King of Spain in the 1200s.

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - View of the Convento Building, also known as the "Long Building" and the palm and olive trees that were planted by the padres. Photograph also shows four people dressed in dark clothing, standing at the base of the left palm.  

 

Historical Notes

The Convento Building was, and still is, the largest adobe structure in California and is also the largest original building in California's missions.^

California's eighteenth century Franciscan missionaries were the first to plant palms ornamentally, perhaps in reference to the tree's biblical associations. But it was not until Southern California's turn-of-the-twentieth-century gardening craze that the region's leisure class introduced the palm as the region's preeminent decorative plant. Providing neither shade nor marketable fruit, the palm was entirely ornamental.*#*

 

 

 

 
(1896)^#^# - "The Palms of San Fernando" (title at the bottom) from the December 1896 issue of "The Land of Sunshine". This was from an article on the San Fernando Mission Ruins, the monastery of which can be seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Despite the diversity of palms in the Los Angeles area today, only one species—Washingtonia filifera, the California fan palm—is native to California. All of L.A.'s other palm species, from the slender Mexican fan palms that line so many of today's L.A. boulevards to the feather-topped Canary Island date palm, have been imported.*#*

 

 

 
(1898)^^ - Exterior view of the San Fernando Mission cloister. The long, one-story building of the cloister is pictured at center, showing its broad side. A colonnade is effected along the side by the situation of evenly spaced arches, which coincide with what appear to be the doors to the monks' quarters on the main building just inside the colonnade. Three tall, weed-like plants stand in the foreground in a large swath of sedgegrass. The picture file card identifies them as "Sunflowers".  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of the San Fernando Mission

 

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Sawtelle

 
(1890)^ - An early look at the newly developing Santa Monica Blvd. in Sawtelle (now Los Angeles), in 1890.
 

 

Historical Notes

In 1896, the Pacific Land Company purchased a 225-acre tract and hired S.H. Taft to develop a new town named Barrett, after Gen. A.W. Barrett, local manager of the veterans home situated in the area. When the Pacific Land Company attempted to secure a post office for the new town, the postal authorities objected to the name "Barrett" on account of its similarity to Bassett, California. In 1899, the name of the town was formally changed to Sawtelle (for W.E. Sawtelle who superseded Taft as manager of the Pacific Land Company).

Sawtelle existed as a separate city until 1922 when Sawtelle voters decided to join Los Angeles*^

 

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Santa Monica

 
(ca. 1887)^ - View of Santa Monica beach looking south from Santa Monica Canyon rim. The wharf and newly constructed Arcadia Hotel can be seen in the background. House-tents are seen along the beach.  

 

Historical Notes

The Arcadia Hotel opened for business in 1887 and was located on Ocean Avenue between Railroad Avenue (later known as Colorado Avenue) and Front (later known as Pico Boulevard). The Arcadia was the largest structure in Santa Monica at the time of its construction. The 125-room hotel was owned by J.W. Scott, the proprietor of the city's first hotel, the Santa Monica Hotel. The hotel was named for Arcadia Bandini de Baker, the wife of Santa Monica cofounder Colonel R. S. Baker.^^**

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1887)^ - Exterior view of the east front of the Arcadia Hotel in Santa Monica soon after its construction. It opened in March 1887. It was located on Ocean Avenue immediately south of the bridge over the gulch that was later occupied by Roosevelt Highway.  

 

Historical Notes

Being located on a bluff, all 125 rooms in the 5-story building boasted unobstructed views. It featured a grand ballroom, upscale dining room and its own roller coaster. A bathhouse was located on the beach directly below the hotel, offering guests hot saltwater baths.*#*#

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^ - View from the pier showing the Arcadia Hotel on Santa Monica South Beach behind the Arcadia Bath House.  

 

Historical Notes

The pinnacle of the hotel was an observation tower, offering breathtaking views in every direction a dizzying 136 feet above the beach level.*^*#

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1891)^ - View of Santa Monica beach looking north from the observation tower of the Arcadia Hotel. Palisades Park can clearly be seen to the right.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally known as “Linda Vista Park,” Palisades Park was the first officially-designated public open space in Santa Monica. The land was donated to the City by Santa Monica's founder, Senator John P. Jones, in 1892.*#*#

 

 

 

 
(1890s)^ - View looking south of the Arcadia Hotel and the Arcadia Bath House. The Southern Pacific Railroad tunnel is seen at center. At right are the '55 Steps' that enabled visitors to have quick access to the beach below. Sign over the tunnel reads ".... 5 CENT LAGER BEER"
 

 

Historical Notes

In the 1890s, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a tunnel under Ocean Avenue. The tunnel was eventually enlarged to accommodate the Pacific Coast Highway.*#*#

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - Arcadia Hotel on Santa Monica south beach behind the Arcadia Bath House.
 

 

Historical Notes

Bath houses, featuring hot saltwater baths, were a big tourist draw to Santa Monica in the late 1800s and early 1900s.^

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - View showing people walking on the Santa Monica Beach boardwalk. A horse-drawn carriage (center of photo) appears to be moving south on the sand parallel to he boardwalk.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - Group photo of men and women in their bathing suits, standing in ankle deep water on Santa Monica beach.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more in Early Views of Santa Monica

 

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Sonora Town

 
(1888)### – Panoramic view Looking south and southeast toward Sonora Town from the heights at Yale Street above Calvary Cemetery. Photo by William Henry Jackson.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1888)### - View showing Castelar Street Public School and the French Hospital from Yale Street above Calvary Cemetery.  Photo by William Henry Jackson  

 

 

 

 

 
(1888)### - View from Yale Street showing Baker Iron Works and Capitol Milling (lower-left), the San Fernando Hotel (center), and the still under construction Sunset Hotel (center-right). Photo by William Henry Jackson  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1889)^^ - Looking northeast along Buena Vista (Justicia) from the County Court House. The Los Angeles River can be seen in the background. Smoke belches from a factory at center likely one of the iron works, Llewellyn or Baker or one of the brick yards. Both the Sunset Hotel and the National Hotel can be seen at center-right.  

 

Historical Notes

Residential buildings dominate at left, lining west side of Buena Vista (Justicia), while commercial buildings are at right. A horse-drawn carriage can be seen driving down the street at left, while A field can be seen in the right background, while mountains rise in the background beyond the field. Legible signs include: "Sunset Wine Co., wines, brandies, whiskies, Goldschmidt Bros.", "Agency for Tom Howe Bourbon, O.P.S.", "Ghirardelli's breakfast cocoa"..., "Frey's Mantel", "Lumber, building material, sash doors and blinds; Kerckhoff-Cuzner Mill & Lumber Co.", ..."Wood m[...], 610", "National Hotel", "Drugs", "Los Angeles Furniture Co.", "Hoffman Hotel", "Furniture, carpets, wallpaper, bedding, shades, etc.", and "Stearns Machine Works". Brunswig Drug Company, the Pico House, Merced Theater and the Masonic Hall can all be seen at center and center right. The squarish, three story brick building at left in the middle distance (seeming to balance on the tip of the turret of the little white house on Buena Vista) is the San Fernando Hotel at the NE corner of San Fernando (N. Spring) Street and Ord. The tower/turret to its immediate left is the corner of the Sunset Hotel on the NW of the same corner.^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^*# - Postcard view of Sonora Town looking northeast towards the Los Angeles River. The two large buildings at center-right are the Sunset Hotel (left) and the San Fernando Hotel (right). Smoke can be seen billowing out from a factory between the hotels and the LA River.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)#^* - View showing the four story Sunset Hotel (with three striped turrets) and the three story San Fernando Hotel sitting facing each other across San Fernando/Upper Main/North Spring St. (Note: San Fernando Street, hence the San Fernando Hotel). Ord Street runs alongside the hotels.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)^ - Exterior view of an adobe house opposite the Sunset Hotel at 703 San Fernando Street (later North Spring Street) in Sonora Town. A bill has been posted in Spanish announcing the appearance of Carmen Rodriguez in "La Duquesa Del Bal-Tabarin" at Teatro Novel.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - View overlooking Sonora Town and the surrounding area in 1890.
 

 

Historical Notes

The part of the city called Sonora Town was an old adobe village north of the Plaza and Church of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels. It was Los Angeles' first Mexican quarters, or barrio. The area was named for the numerous miners and families who came from Sonora, Mexico, and may have still been around in the 1930s. Now it is Los Angeles' Chinatown District.^

Note the tall pole on the right side of the photo. It is a 150 -foot mast that holds up one of the City's first electric street lights. These tall electric street lights first appeared in 1883 when the City's first electric utility company, LA Electric Company, was formed. Click HERE to see more in Early Los Angeles Street Lights.

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - Panoramic view of Sonora Town in 1890. A fence is painted with the sign, "Japanese Art Depot, 315 North Main Street."  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^ - An 1890s panorama of Sonora Town. Campo Santo can be seen on the hill in the upper right.  

 

Historical Notes

Prior to the construction of the Plaza Catholic Church, pueblo residents were buried at Mission San Gabriel. Some burials, however, took place at Campo Santo even before 1826 when the first resident priest arrived and it began its own official burial registry. The Campo Santo (consecrated ground) was the first cemetery in Los Angeles.*^#

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1880)^## - View of four men in front of the Salon Francais on North Broadway Street. The signs on the face of the building read: "Fresh Beer - 5 Cents". A horse-drawn wagon is seen on the left carrying a full load of supplies.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Sonora Town

 

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(ca. 1870s)^ – View looking south southwest down Fort St (renamed “Broadway” in 1890) between Temple (behind the camera) and 1st Street (beyond the first cut).  Los Angeles High School is out of frame on the left (east) on Poundcake Hill.   

 

Historical Notes

The steep slope which is spilling onto unpaved Fort St is the future site of the Court Flight Incline Railway. The small house on top of the hill at right is on Court St, one lot east of Hill St. (southeast corner of Court & Hill). The Bradbury Mansion will later be built at the southwest corner of Court and Hill.

The name "Fort Street" was changed to "Broadway" in 1890 by order of Mayor Hazard, at the request of property owners at Fort and Fourth.*#*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^^ - Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles looking west from Spring Street and Fourth Street toward Bunker Hill across Broadway between Third Street and Fourth Street. Fort Street Methodist Episcopal Church (later purchased by Homer Laughlin for $63,000 in 1899) stands in the center of the photograph which includes principally dwellings. The tall pole at the top of Bunker Hill seen in the upper-left is one of Los Angeles’ earliest electric stretlights, standing 150-ft tall. Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Streetlights.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - Fort Street (now South Broadway), showing the Fort Street Methodist Episcopal Church, replaced by the Homer Laughlin Building in 1916. Also includes the "Peerless" restaurant, featuring a sign that reads "Best 15 cent meal in the City!"  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^^ –Close-up view looking west toward Bunker Hill showing the impressive Brunson Mansion at center-right with the Rose Mansion at far left.  Note the 150-ft tall streetlight at center-left. Click HERE to see more Early Views of LA Streetlights.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)^ – View looking southwest showing the Panorama Rotunda (top center-right) located at the center of the block bounded by Main, Los Angeles, 3rd, and 4th streets.  

 

Historical Notes

Downtown Los Angeles debuted a panoramic exhibit in late 1887 in a newly built Panorama Rotunda (seen above). The large circular building, located at Main Street between Third and Fourth Streets, displayed the last battle between the French resistance and Prussian 'besiegers' after which Paris fell in January of 1871.^*#*

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^^ - View of Main Street south from 3rd Street. showing the Panorama Building. The Panorama Rotunda is conected to this building and stands to the rear, out of view. The Westminster Hotel, located on the northeast corner of 4th and Main streets, is seen at far right.  

 

Historical Notes

Within a year of its construction, the brick storefront on Main Street through which panorama visitors entered, called ''Panorama Building,' was home to many business ventures, its owners quickly capitalizing on the prestige of the art work and its instantly recognizable address. Not only was it home to the painted battle scene, but also served as a warehouse for the Bancroft Piano Company; a rehearsal hall for the vocal section of the Philharmonic Society; the meeting space for the Young Man's Prohibition Club as well as the Harrison and Morton Club, a Republican party group; and Miss B.M. Tobin's millinery, directly adjacent to the offices of W.O. Merithew, architect. The Evening Express newspaper had its offices in the building, and the Olmstead and Wales Panorama Bookstore was also an early tenant.^*#*

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - View of Spring and Market Streets in 1890, looking at a two-story building on the corner housing among others Anthony Schwamm, cut-rate ticket broker (railroad) and notary public. The U.S. Hotel with its distinctive tower is seen at right, on the southeast corner of Main and Market streets.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1890s)### – Panoramic view looking east from the LA County Courthouse.  The Temple Block (site of today’s City Hall) stands in the foreground.  Requena Street (later Market Street) runs away from Temple Block at Main Street (center of the photo).  You can see an American Flag flying from the side of the Amsestoy Building (N/E corner of Main and Requena streets).  Across the street (S/E corner) is the U. S. Hotel.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^## - View looking West on Requena Street (later Market Street) toward North Main Street. The U.S. Hotel is on the left and the Amestoy Block on the right. The County Courthouse can be seen in the background. A large sign on the side of the building reads: "Los Angeles Transorial Parlor - BATHS". The two-story building on the right with the horse-drawn wagon parked in front is the H. Newmark & Co. Building.  

 

Historical Notes

Today, City Hall would be standing at the end of Requena/Market St. on Main St. Needless to say, Requena/Market Street does not exist today.*^^*

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^ - View of Los Angeles circa 1890, looking east from First and Hill Streets. The Times Mirror building is seen on the northeast corner of West First and Broadway. The County Courthouse is on the left.  

 

 

 

 
(1890)^ - Churches and small business are interspersed with homes in this view of Second Street between Fort and Spring Streets. Fort Street later became Broadway. The church in the center with the tall spire is the First Presbyterian Church at Fort and 2nd. To the church's right is B'nai B'rith Temple, built in 1872. It was the first synagogue in Los Angeles. To the right of B'nai B'rith (out of view) stands City Hall, built in 1888. St. Vibiana's Cathedral is in the background and the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church South is on the far left at 1st and Spring. A dry goods store between the Cathedral and the Presbyterian church advertises "Groceries & Provisions".  

 

 

 

 

 
(1894)#++ – Street view looking east on 3rd Street at Broadway with the Bradbury Building at right on the southeast corner.  Horse-drawn wagons are seen throughout on the unpaved streets.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1893, the Bradbury Building was commissioned by LA mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury and designed by local draftsman George Wyman. It still stands today and is the oldest building in Downtown LA.

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Bradbury Building.

 

 

 

 

 
(1894)^^ - Panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles, looking east on Third Street from the balcony of the Crocker Mansion.   There is a clear view of the intersection of Broadway and Third Street where the Bradbury Building is seen on the southeast corner. On the northwest corner can be seen the excavation for the Irvine Building. City Hall is at upper-left of photo with the cupola of St. Vibiana's Cathedral behind it in the distance.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1895)^## - View of Broadway looking north from Third Street. Horse-drawn carriages and a streetcar share the road.  

 

Historical Notes

City Hall (1888-1928) dominates the right of the picture. Several other landmarks of the day can also be seen here. The tower of Los Angeles High School is partially visible to the left of the power poles. The clock tower in the distance is that of the LA County Courthouse. The tall spire next to that belongs to the First Presbyterian Church at the SE corner of Broadway and Second Street. And, the gothic structure just barely visible between City Hall and the Crocker Building (with the two bay windows) is Los Angeles' first Jewish synagogue, the B'nai B'rith Temple.

 

 

 
(ca. 1900)##^^ - View looking north on Broadway from above 3rd Street showing streetcars, horse-drawn wagons, bicycles and pedesrians all sharing the roadway. City Hall stands tall on the east side of Broadway. The LA County Courthouse, built in 1891, stands in the background. The building with the American Flag in the left foreground is the Irvine Building located on the northwest corner of Broadway and 3rd Street.  

 

Historical Notes

Two religious buildings no longer appear on Broadway (see previous photo). They are the B'nai B'rith Temple (demolished in 1896) and the First Presbyterian Church (demolished in 1897).

 

 

 
(1890s)+++ – View showing a Tally Ho coach and group of people gathering in front of the Irvine Building, home of the Mount Lowe Springs Co., a Thaddeus Lowe-owned water company. Tally Ho service took passengers to Mount Lowe Railway in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Pasadena.  

 

Historical Notes

The Mount Lowe Railway was the third in a series of scenic mountain railroads in America created as a tourist attraction on Echo Mountain and Mount Lowe in the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Pasadena. The railway, originally incorporated by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe as the Pasadena & Mt. Wilson Railroad Co. existed from 1893 until its official abandonment in 1938, and had the distinction of being the only scenic mountain, electric traction (overhead electric trolley) railroad ever built in the United States. Lowe’s partner and engineer was David J. Macpherson, a civil engineer graduate of Cornell University. The Mount Lowe Railway was a fulfillment of 19th century Pasadenans' desire to have a scenic mountain railroad to the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains.*^

Click HERE to see Early Views of Mt. Lowe Railway.

 

 

 

 
(1890s)+++ – View showing a Mount Lowe Tally Ho Coach, which provided service for patrons from the Mount Lowe Spring Co. at Third and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles to the Altadena point of embarkation for the Mount Lowe Railway. Click HERE to see Early Views of Mt. Lowe Railway.  

 

 

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Figueroa and 6th Streets

 
(1880s)^ - View of Pearl Street (Figueroa) near Bellevue Terrace (6th Street) with horse carriages and the Bellevue Terrace Hotel (N/W corner) at the far right. Two stylish Victorian homes are seen on the left.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^ - View showing two ornate Victorian homes located on the west side of South Figueroa Street, located south of the Bellevue Terrace Hotel.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1880s)^ - View looking southwest towards Bellevue Terrace and Pearl Streets. Bellevue Terrace Hotel and Foy house is in center of photo.  

 

Historical Notes

Pearl Street became Figueroa Street, and Bellevue Terrace 6th Street.

 

 

 

 
(1885)^ - Photo of an early lithograph showing Figueroa Street south from 6th Street. The Bellevue Terrace Hotel is on the right (northwest corner of Figueroa and 6th).   

 

Historical Notes

Photo caption reads: "View on Pearl Street, south from Bellevue Terrace, showing banana and palm plants, and cypress hedges." Pearl Street became Figueroa Street, and Bellevue Terrace 6th Street.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^ - View of the Bellevue Terrace Hotel at Figueroa & 6th. Two horse-drawn carriages wait my the curbside. Today it is the site of the Jonathan Club.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1892, Edward Doheny and his family stayed at this Victorian building. Doheny later said that he got the idea of digging for oil while watching wagons laden with fuel and tar pass by.^#^

Click HERE to see more in 1890s Oil Boom.

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the Bellevue Terrace Hotel.

 

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Temple Street Cable Railway

 
(1889)^^ - A train of the Temple Street Cable Railway in Los Angeles near Temple and Hoover Streets.  

 

Historical Notes

The Temple Street Cable Railway was the most successful cable car line in Los Angeles. It was built by real estate promoters, and it succeeded in raising the value of property along the road. The line climbed through the draw between Fort Moore (Mormon) Hill and Pound Cake Hill. The Temple Street line connected with the Cahuenga Valley Railroad, a steam line to Hollywood.**#

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^ - A cable car full of passengers and decorated with American flags is seen in front of the Temple Street Cable Railway barn and powerhouse on the northwest corner of Temple Street and East Edgeware Road. Angelino Heights is in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

Temple Street Cable Railway, opened on July 14, 1886. Backed by land speculator Prudent Beaudry, who first developed Bunker Hill in the late 1860s, the Temple Street line extended 8,725 feet between Spring Street and Belmont Avenue. There, the streetcar line fueled the growth of Angeleno Heights (today spelled "Angelino Heights"), an early suburb promoted by Beaudry and his brother Victor. "Have a house in the hills!" encouraged the Beaudrys' marketing materials, which advertised the subdivision's street railway link. "Stop paying rent in the Valley!" #^^^

The company was sold under foreclosure in 1898. Henry E. Huntington acquired it in 1902 and included it in the Pacific Electric Railway after he converted it to electricity. In 1910, the line was transferred to the Los Angeles Railway. The A line, which ran on Temple Street in he 1930's, was one of the first in Los Angeles to be converted to buses.**#

 

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Angeleno Heights

 
(ca. 1890)^## - View of Angelino Heights looking north at the corner of Temple Street and East Edgeware Road. The two buildings on the northwest corner belonged to the Temple Street Cable Railway. The front building with tracks running into its entry is the cable car barn. The building in the rear with the smokestacks is the powerhouse.  

 

Historical Notes

Originally spelled Angeleno Heights, Angelino Heights is second only to Bunker Hill as the oldest district in Los Angeles. Founded in 1886, it was originally connected to the downtown mainline (which ran east to west on Temple Street) by the Temple Street Cable Railway and later by streetcars.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^## - View of Angelino Heights looking north. In the lower right is the intersection of Temple Street and East Edgeware Rd. Smoke is coming out of one of the stacks at the street cable car power plant. Homes cover the hillside in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

In the late 1940s, a large swath of Angelino Heights was destroyed to build the Hollywood Freeway. The new freeway cut off Temple Street save an overpass at Edgeware Road.*^

 

 

 

 
(1897)^*# - Angeleno Heights looking north from Temple Street and Edgeware Road.  The Temple Street Cable Railway power house is to the left of center. The top row of houses in the center are on Carroll Avenue and almost all are still there.  

 

Historical Notes

In the last 20 years or so, most of the Victorian and Craftsman buildings in the Angelino Heights neighborhood have been restored.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890)^## - Close-up view of the multi-story homes of Angelino Heights.  

 

Historical Notes

Angelino Heights was the City of Los Angeles' first recognized historic district, or Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ). Enacted in 1983 and spelled out in Angelino Heights' Preservation Plan, this zoning prohibits unsympathetic remodelling of historic houses and requires new construction to resemble original architecture in scale, massing and materials.

Today, the district contains many notable examples of Victorian architecture, particularly of the Eastlake and Queen Anne styles, and though found throughout the neighborhood, they are especially concentrated on Carroll Avenue. Two of these residences served as the houses used for the TV shows Charmed and Journeyman, used in the shows as San Francisco Victorian residences, and because of the picturesque nature of the neighborhood, they have served as the backdrop for countless motion pictures from the earliest days of cinema to the present.

Traveling around the neighborhood, one also discovers that many other styles of architecturally significant homes are to be found here, such as Craftsman, Bungalow, Mission Revival, Art Deco, and Colonial Revival, to name a few.*^

Click HERE to see more in Early L.A. Buildings (1800s).

 

 

Second Street Park

 
(ca. 1890)^## - View of Second Street Park and surrounding area located at the present-day intersection of Glendale Boulevard and First and Second streets.  

 

Historical Notes

Built around 1885 by the Los Angeles Improvement Company -- the real estate syndicate behind the Crown Hill development -- Second Street Park would attract potential customers to the site, which could be reached from Los Angeles by the Second Street Cable Railway. However, the park's demise came quickly when the oil boom hit in the early 1890s and a forest of wooden derricks carpeted the neighborhood’s hills.*#*

 

1890's Oil Boom

 
(ca. 1890s)^## - View loking south from Angelino Heights. Oil derricks can be seen in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1892, Edward Doheny struck oil south of Angelino Heights and Echo Park, triggering the city’s first oil boom. Soon, hundreds of wells were pumping away in a wide belt stretching roughly south of Temple Street. The wells created enormous wealth but also a stinky, sticky mess for those who lived nearby, including the residents of the newly built Victorian mansions of Angelino Heights.****

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)^ - Oil field east of 1st Street and Belmont Avenue in Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

Discovered in 1890, and made famous by Edward Doheny's successful well in 1892, the Los Angeles Oil Field was once the top producing oil field in California, accounting for more than half of the state's oil in 1895. In its peak year of 1901, approximately 200 separate oil companies were active on the field, which is now entirely built over by dense residential and commercial development.

Some significant public facilities built directly on the area of former oilfield operations include Shriners Hospital for Children, St. Vincent Medical Center, Belmont High School, and the Edward R. Royball Learning Center.*^

 

 

 

 
(1896)^**^ - A "forest" of oil derricks near downtown Los Angeles.  

 

Historical Notes

By 1897, the once-quiet Crown Hill neighborhood--by then bounded by Temple, Figueroa and 1st streets and Union Avenue--was overrun with promoters, drillers and more than 500 chugging and wheezing derricks. Gingerbread houses and neatly trimmed gardens were quickly transformed by homeowners and leasing companies attempting to turn backyards into pay dirt.

Tent cities sprang up all over town, attracting prostitutes and bootleggers. Gambling houses and saloons were busy 24 hours a day.^^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1890s)^ - Oil field east from the corner of 1st Street and Belmont Avenue.  

 

Historical Notes

The price of oil peaked at $1.80 a barrel before hitting bottom at 15 cents in 1903. There was so much cheap oil that to reduce the tremendous surplus, the city began spraying it on unpaved roads to hold down the dust.^^^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1902)#^* – Panoramic view looking south on E. Edgeware Road from Angelina Street.  Court Street crossing is at the bottom of the hill. The distinctive white house at the T-intersection is 1274 W. Court Street, with 1305 W. Colton Street visible directly behind it. About twenty-five oil wells along Court Street, interspersed with dwellings, make up the City Field.  Almost overnight, a residential district was transformed into an oil field. 1274 W. Court Street is still there looking essentially unchanged after nearly a hundred and fifteen years.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1906)^*# - Los Angeles oil fields map of the wells just west of downtown in 1906.  The filled in circles represent producing wells, non-filled circles represent non-producing wells (Source:  Library of Congress).  

 

 

 

 
(1930)^^ - Photograph of Edward L. Doheny at the site dedication ceremony for his discovery oil. Doheny, wearing a straw hat, waving, and standing under a tall triangular wooden scaffold or derrick, discovered oil in 1892 near Second Street and Glendale Boulevard (south side of Court Street, east of Patton, 2½ blocks east of Glendale Boulevard). A group of about twenty-five men clustered on the adjacent dirt road, look on.  

 

Historical Notes

Edward Laurence Doheny (1856 - 1935) was a Californian oil tycoon who, in 1892, drilled the first successful oil well in the Los Angeles City Oil Field. His success set off a petroleum boom in Southern California, and made him a fortune when, in 1902, he sold his properties.

He began highly profitable oil operations in Tampico, Mexico, drilling the first well in the nation in 1901. He expanded operations during the Mexican Revolution, and opened large new oil fields in Mexico's "golden belt" inland from Tampico. His holdings developed as the Pan American Petroleum & Transport Company, one of the largest oil companies in the world in the 1920s.

In the 1920s, Doheny was implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal and accused of offering a $100,000 bribe to United States Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall. Doheny was twice acquitted of offering the bribe, but Fall was convicted of accepting it. Doheny and his second wife and widow, Carrie Estelle, were noted philanthropists in Los Angeles, especially regarding Catholic schools and charities. The character J. Arnold Ross in Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil! (the inspiration for the 2007 film There Will Be Blood) is loosely based on Doheny.*^

 

Click HERE to see more on Los Angeles Oil Field

 

 

 

 

 

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More Historical Early Views

 

 

Newest Additions

 

 

Early LA Buildings and City Views

 

 

History of Water and Electricity in Los Angeles

 

 

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References and Credits

* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LA Public Library Image Archive

**LADWP Historic Archive

^^USC Digital Library

*#Publications of the Historical Society of Southern California, Volume 9: Eternity Street

#+Flickr.com: Broadway

*#^Historic Hotels of Los Angeles and Hollywood (USC - California Historic Society):; Belmont Hotel

***Los Angeles Historic - Cultural Monuments Listing

*^*California Historical Landmarks Listing (Los Angeles)

*^#Public Art in LA: Campo Santo

^*^LA Street Names - LA Times

^^^LA Times: The Gush of Oil Was Music to 'Queen's' Ears

^*#Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Sunset and San Fernando Hotels; Belmont Hotel View; 1st Electric Trolley

*##Metro.net - Los Angeles Transit History

^##California State Library Image Archive

###Denver Public Library Image Archive

#^*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

#**Historic Los Angeles Theaters: Child's Opera House

#*^LA Conservancy: Boyle Hotel

#^^Historical Buildings - boyleheightsbeat.com

+^^Kansas Historic Society:  Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company

+++Mt. Lowe Preservation Society

*#*KCET - Inventing LA: Port of Los Angeles; Belmont Hotel View; A Brief History of Palm Trees; How LA Lost One of its Earliest Parks; Rediscovering Downtown L.A.'s Lost Neighborhood of Bunker Hill; Fort St. to Broadway

**#The Cable-Car-Guy.com: The Los Angeles Railway; Temple Street Cable Railway

**^History Matters: Calle de los Negros, 1880s

^^*LA Fire Department Historical Archive; Belmont Hotel Fire

****Theeastsiderla.com: Angelino Heights Oil Boom

^^#^The George A. Eslinger Street Lighting Photo Gallery

*##^The Street Railway History of Los Angeles - erha.org

^##*Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD): Bryson-Bonebrake Block

^#^*Nathan Masters: Los Angeles From the Air, 1887 vs. 2013

^^^*Rails West: City Street Railways

^*^* KCET: LA's First Streetcars

^*^^San Fernando Valley Historical Society/Facebook.com: Burbank Villa Hotel

^*#*Panoramonview.org: Paorama of the Siege of Paris

^^^#LA Creek Freak: Arroyo de los Reyes

*^^*Los Angeles Past: Requena/Market St.

*^^#Boyle Heights History Blog: Los Angeles Cable Railway Construction

*^*#Paradise Leased: Arcadia Hotel

^^**LMU Digital Collection: Arcadia Hotel

*#*#Santa Monica Beach Stories

^#^# San Fernando Valley Relics: The Palms of San Fernando

#*^*The River Project: Taylor Yard

#^**Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

#^*^Calisphere: University of California Image Archive

#^^^Southland.gizmodo.com: LA Once Had Cable Cars

##^^Flickr.com: Views of Los Angeles

^**^Wikipedia Images: Early L.A. Oil Wells

*^ Wikipedia: Arcadia Bandini de Stearns Baker; Bunker Hill; Prudent Beaudry; Jonathan Temple; Los Angeles High School; Joseph Widney; Pershing Square; Port of Los Angeles; Belmont High School; Hollenbeck Park; Ducommun; Isaias W. Hellman; Abel Stearns; Sawtelle, Los Angeles; Sawtelle Veterans Home; Arcade Station; Alhambra; Fort Moore; History of Santa Monica; History of Los Angeles; Burbank; Belmont High School; Mt. Lowe Railway; Los Angeles City Oil Field; History of Los Angeles Population Growth; Garvanza, Los Angeles; Highland Park; Compton; Harrison Gray Otis; Los Angeles City Hall; Angelino Heights; Boyle Heights; Boyle Hotel - Cummings Block; History of Transportation in California; Mount Lowe Railway

 

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